Walking breaks by train: 5 routes to try

St Ives Branch Line, Cornwall

Stay one step ahead with a series of walking itineraries that let the train take the strain. Selected from the South West Coast Path website, each itinerary takes in different mainline stations and branch lines at the start and end points.

For more details and other itineraries go to www.southwestcoastpath.com/rail-trails or to book a train please go to Great Western Railway.

Padstow to St Ives - 67 miles in 6 days at an average pace
This is an idyllic stretch of the South West Coast Path, a place of fishing-boat harbours, rolling Atlantic breakers and long sandy bucket-and-spade beaches. The pure bright light draws artists from all over the world, and warm air from the Gulf Stream encourages many exotic species: tropical plants flourish in the popular resorts, and dolphins and porpoises are sometimes seen offshore. The coastline is dotted with the chapels and wells of sixth century Celtic saints, but there are darker tales too of giants and sinners among the mines and dunes.

Falmouth station to Par – 36.5 mile; 3 days along the Roseland at an average pace
Secluded coves and wooded valleys are found in some sections of this walk along the south coast of Cornwall, while in others there are high windswept headlands jutting out to sea. This route takes in the lush Roseland Peninsula, part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as a series of fishing ports and the headlands of Dodman Point and Black Head.

St Ives to Penzance - 43.6 miles over 5 days at a leisurely to average pace
The start and finish points on this route have great links with the trains services. In between the two main towns, the Coast Path leads you along a wild and rugged landscape that gives you a real feeling of remoteness. The remains of tin mines are dotted all along this stretch of coast as a reminder of its industrial past and form part of the UNESCO designated Cornish Mining World Heritage site.

Newquay to St Ives - 42.8 miles in 5 days at a leisurely pace
This walk takes you from the heart of the British surfing industry in Newquay to the artist’s haven of St Ives, passing various sandy beaches and secluded coves in between. It includes part of the UNESCO designated Cornish Mining World Heritage Site around St Agnes where the remains of tin mines offer a glimpse of its industrial past. It is also part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, most of which is along the coastline where there’s a rich diversity of plant and animal life that adds further fascination for a walk on the Coast Path.

Bude to Newquay - 66 miles in 5 days at a leisurely pace
A challenging walk to blow away the cobwebs, featuring rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. The slate of the North Cornwall coastline has been eroded in spectacular ways, and this is a journey over ground that booms with the power of the waves crashing into subterranean caverns and even chimes underfoot near King Arthur's alleged stamping grounds in Tintagel! Offshore the many islands are topped with nesting birds and clumps of sea pinks and the sea-carved blowholes in the mineral-stained caves that pockmark the cliffs produce some dramatic effects. On the golden beaches high breakers roll in from the Atlantic Ocean, producing long clean waves that draw surfers from all over the world.

Have you combined a rail visit to Cornwall with a walking holiday? Which route did you take and how did you get on? Share with us using Facebook below...